training theory


Meet Hank. He’s a Percheron X Appaloosa.   Hank is about 1,400 pounds of adorableness. Hank is as sweet as they come, but along the way, he stopped paying attention to the person at the other end of the lead line. When Hank was hungry, he ate.   Hank is […]

Teaching a Horse to Walk Politely


For the last month I’ve had a cast on my left foot. My dog nurse thinks that I should be on the couch with him for the duration.   But I’ve never been a good patient, and much to Scooter’s disappointment, I got a plastic protector for the cast, meant […]

Working While Laid Up


Horses are complex, sentient, emotional, physical beings who communicate via body language. It’s usually quite subtle, but we keep these animals in situations that amplifies their interactions, which can cause some rather dramatic and potentially harmful behavior. Perhaps you know a mare that hogs both hay nets,   or one […]

Horse Behavior Problem Solving



For the last couple of months I’ve been trying to come up with a new tagline for my business. The Cooperative Horse is descriptive, but limited. Cooperating sounds great, but how do you do it, and to what end? A year ago, when I printed up business cards, I added […]

Three Words


This is how a horse should get onto a trailer. Blasé.   Easier said than done. A horse has good reason to be wary of getting onto a trailer. Here’s a partial list: The ramp and floor sound hollow. Horses like solid ground. Simply walking on causes it to move slightly. […]

Horse Trailer Loading


Everything that we do is behavior. Even breathing – whether you are gulping air in a panic, or inhaling and exhaling in a relaxed yoga state – is a response to your environment and what’s going on in it. Before we do what we do there are antecedents – triggers […]

The Rewarding World



My friend, Michele, is a dog person. She and her husband like to have a house full of them. Not too long ago, her pack was sadly reduced to only two. These two dogs were perfect, and got along with each other and with the cats. They went for daily off-leash walks […]

Self-control Leads to Happiness


As much as I enjoy working Tonka in a ring (click on the dressage category to the right to read posts about that), I believe in balancing that schooling with time on the trail. Not only is it good cross-training, but it makes both of us happy. Even when there’s snow […]

From Fearful to Calm


We’ve all heard Horses are prey animals. It’s followed up by the statement: We’re predators. This is then used to justify certain training techniques. It’s claimed that since horses are naturally afraid of us, that we have to train them differently than we do, say our dogs. I don’t agree. Because of the uniqueness of […]

Horses and the Predator/Prey Mythology